The Worst Quark?

So I fly back to the states roughly twice a year, and customs/immigration provide varying levels of irritation/amusement.  I’ve entered O’Hare international about four times, and the setup was a bit different each time I did it.  There’s always passport clearance, then baggage claim, then customs, then sliding doors, and the outside.  One time however, there was a standard blue-uniformed (not TSA) police officer between customs and the sliding door, asking each passenger random questions before they exited.  I overheard him asking the suit in front of me something about the length of her stay and something about a conference, and I step up.  I had been traveling for >12 hours at this point, and all his questions were rapid-fire, which I can’t sufficiently simulate syntactically.  The exchange went thusly:

[Cop]: Where are you flying in from?

[Me]: Germany.

[Cop]: What were you doing there?

[Me]: I work at a Lab.

[Cop]: What kind of lab?

[Me]: I study Physics.

[Cop]: High-Energy Particle?

[Me]: …. Uh.  Yes.

[Cop]: Do you make quarks?

[Me]: …..  Uh… not me personally… the machine group provides–

[Cop]: But you work with quarks?

[Me]: Yes.

[Cop]: Which is the worst quark?

[Me]: Worst?

[Cop, Sounding Annoyed and Busy]: Yes, which is the worst.  Down, strange, which is the worst?

[Me]: ….Uh, top…  I guess…

At this point he looks at me like he’s about to check-raise me, sort of smacks my passport against my chest and says

[Cop]: That’s what I thought.  NEXT!

I wander into the Chicago winter, and only really remember the exchange after a few hours.  He probably did that every time someone working at TeVatron went through, but I was way too tired to be prepared for that.


7 responses to “The Worst Quark?

  1. But next time you’ll be prepared to smash his question to pieces by precisely crafted answer including good deal of slang, won’t you?
    Anyway – ROFL

  2. I’m not sure whether to be irritated or amused. A little of both I suppose.

    Once when I was a teenager, a customs officer asked my mom if she had anything to declare. She answered “my children.” The officer politely smirked, but asked again because I assume he needed a serious answer. I assume she thought her joke deserved a better reaction, so she repeated her answer a couple more times with the customs officer getting increasingly annoyed until he waved us through. I thought for sure the cavity search was coming next.

  3. Somehow, “The Worst Quark” sounds like a great name for a children’s book.

  4. lol..nice

  5. “The wurst quark? I wouldn’t know, I keep kosher.”

    Ah, I kill me.

  6. Must be the charm because it lures one into it’s grasp.

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